Bear and I took a ramble yesterday as per usual and the changes happening in the Refuge right now are right up our alley. On the way, I watched a murder of migrating crows — maybe 100? — take flight from the field they were gleaning. That was the first time I’ve seen that at all EVER, and it was spectacular.

“There’s nothing out there” seems to be the word of the day as far as other people are concerned which means it’s empty and silent. The ducks and geese have adapted to the mostly frozen ponds. It’s hard to say what they will do in the next weeks. That depends completely on what the weather does, but my guess is that soon the Refuge will be mostly deserted except for me and my dogs. Temps are still warm(ish), but 1 F/-17C night temps are predicted for the end of this week. Of course, I’m not out there 24/7 so there could be all kinds of stuff going on that doesn’t coincide with my activities.

We talk a lot about change and have a million memes and clichés to advise ourselves and each other. I remember when I was young (25) thinking that change is the only constant. I thought I was pretty deep. If I were as deep now as I was at 25 I’d say change is infinite, but I’m just not that deep any more.

In a couple of days the ladies and I are going to have a real tea party, our first one INSIDE SOMEONE’S HOUSE since the big sudden change wrought by Covid. Everyone is very happy, even excited, about this. I don’t even have to cook! I just had to have the idea, then to set the table and make coffee.

It is more or less in honor of St. Lucia’s day which is Monday, December 13, but that’s not a good day for all of us so we’re doing it earlier. The last time we celebrated that was 2017 and it looked like this, including Swedish fruit soup that I made and Swedish Saffron Buns made my my Aussie friend.

When I was a kid, we put up our tree on St. Lucia’s day. It was the start of Christmas. One of the two ladies is a Swede, and the day means something to her, too. This year the big change is purely and simply that we’re doing it. I may make the cookies my Swedish grandmother made.

Change is not always change per se. Sometimes it’s just that we don’t know something and then we find out. On one hand, I don’t care about the European nationalities that comprise my ancestry; on the other hand, I find it very interesting as a matter of curiosity and strangeness. I did Ancestry’s spit test some years back. They consistently refine their findings as new techniques evolve. In the beginning I was told that I’m mostly British with a big splonk of Irish. Well, yeah, I have an Irish last name and even legit, brogue-speaking Irishmen have asked me, “When were you last home?” as they sang sad songs into their beer in Irish pubs in San Diego, but Ancestry’s newest even MORE accurate assessment is that I’m barely Irish a’tall. I’m a Scots bohunk, a Scandahoovian, a Swedish Viking. Consider that the Vikings invaded and colonized Scotland over and over for 500 years? Still, I know where my mom’s DNA originated; in the Tyrol. I don’t care WHAT reality says, I’m sticking with that. Me, Ötsi and Reinhold Messner. 🙂

Ancestry could revise all that tomorrow, but for now I’m preparing my ships and strapping on my skis…

As for the meme — I don’t know if Stephen Hawking said that and I’m sure he didn’t write it like that, but it’s still cool.

30 thoughts on “Julte

  1. Your St. Lucia’s Day table looks delightful and yummy. I’m so glad you’re able to get out and enjoy the Refuge. My body has hit a wall today. My mental and physical states match. Can I say the word taxes? Now there are some changes I’d like to make…lol. I ordered my sons the Ancestry kits a few years ago. I’d like to do it. We are supposedly British and Irish; one son being MORE Irish. I’m 1/16th Cherokee…would that be revealed? I see change as a constant so it just flows with my everyday. I’m always happy when I have good changes; and I also enjoy the few things that don’t change! I hope you’re doing good today, Martha. I’m always sending love and prayers to you daily. So is Finn! We think of you a lot!!! I’m sure Finn knows your name! 🤍💚🐶🤗

    • Oh Karla, I hope tomorrow is a better day for you. I don’t know what it is about us but we all want to be The Ancestry kit WOULD show your Native American ancestry. A while back I got a cheap (Groupon) DNA test from a company that was later sued for being fake. It said I was 1/8 Native American. I was so happy but then I tried to figure out how that happened. My best guess was my great-grandmother’s mother might have been part Canadian Indian. But, no… Take care of yourself ❤ Martha, Bear and Teddy

  2. Ancestry hooked me up with my birth mother, two full brothers, and a half-sister. Pretty good score, I’d say. My maternal grandparents came from southern Sweden at the beginning of the 20th Century. Looks like my father’s people have been in the New World since the mid-1600s. Before that, it looks like Wales, or thereabouts. Fascinating stuff, but, really, so what? We displaced thousand of people and hundreds of cultures.

    • Displacing thousands of people etc. is the history of humanity. Every culture from which we came landed here with its own unique axe to grind. We were not one “people” nor were the Native Americans. It’s the same gruesome story of humanity — even between the Native American tribes — I imagine from the beginning of humanity. I stood on a beautiful quay on the Rhine, a custom-house in Switzerland that had, over the entry, the date 1639 and it suddenly it hit me what many of those Europeans left behind and how absolutely desperate many of them had to have been.

      In the case of my immigrant ancestors, none of them came over here to get rich. Some were fleeing starvation, one was a prisoner of war, others were Mennonites fleeing the really horrific persecution they’d faced in Switzerland for 200 years. Should all that have happened? I don’t know, but it did. I believe that if we want to be respected by history, we need to see the worlds from which past people came in their true light as much as possible and we need to be fair — as much as possible. I asked myself on that quay if I would have left. I wouldn’t have. I would have said, “Fuck it. I’m going to join the state religion and stay here.”

      But they were sold a bill of goods, packed into the holds of Dutch and British ships where many of them died, their passage paid by an indenture that they could not work off during their lifetime. We say, “Oh, yeah, but at the end they’d be free,” but many died in their indenture. Many worked off the indentures of the family members who died making it a debt that lasted their whole lives — even if it were a long life.

      And here? This wasn’t one European culture, either. I don’t know. People don’t like complexity, but it was complex.

      European immigration has been simplified; idealized, villainized and romanticized. “We’re” painted as ruthless, exploitative conquerors or heroes bringing civilization (but many of us were barely “civilized”). So many facts about it have been swept under the rug — “our” treatment of the Native Americas is the least of it. “We” didn’t treat each other any better. And now we are just “white.” I hope posterity can look at us fairly and objectively, with facts and understanding that at least we tried to do and be better, but it won’t. It already isn’t. Boomer. 😉

  3. The Hawking meme…isn’t it great that there was absolutely no problem deciphering it? Yeah, let’s challenge ourselves a bit and change the way we write!

  4. When the kids were little we had a neighbor who visited on St Lucia day at 5 AM. They arrived in costume bearing candles and buns. They have a key to our house so they could let themselves in and surprise us in bed. (I would try not to get up before they arrived so as not to ruin it for them.) It was a great way to start the morning!

  5. I learnt something today: that some crows like to travel, and they do it in tour groups. You didn’t see the leader waving an orange flag and rounding up stragglers, did you?

    • I looked into that — there are some Asian and far north people (Sami) who have so-called Native American DNA. BUT I’m pretty skeptical since I actually KNOW most of my family history.

  6. So much to say but the night is getting late… I want to do the Ancestry test as I’m curious if it will show anything different from my sisters. I used to attend a Lutheran church that was largely Swedish. It made me very nervous when the girls (10 -12 yrs old) all processed with lighted candles on their heads. Only had one mishap and it didn’t require first aid or the fire department – but the wax that dripped on the hymnal stuck all the pages together! and lastly I love the sight of a murder of crows taking wing! It is one of my favorite things – just surprising that you’ve never seen it before now. You need to spend more time in the midwest!

    • I might have seen the crows before, but I don’t remember it. It’s a little unusual here and I wonder if it’s the storm pushed them down but I have total faith they’ll sort it out. The Ancestry test probably won’t show anything too different from your sisters, still, who knows?

  7. First of all, I love the word “gleaning” so thank you. I also did the Ancestry test AND the 23&Me test hoping to find some long lost close relatives that might be nicer than the ones I know about. No luck! Oh well! A few 3rd removed cousins didn’t keep up the emails. The ancestry geography part was interesting though – not so much about where my father’s ancestors were from (which is all I ever heard about) which was Spain. Apparently there’s more of the maternal side in my bones from further away in England and Wales. Yes, that Hawking meme is very cool.
    Have fun at the tea party! 🙂

    • This might interest you: https://www.crigenetics.com/blog/can-females-trace-their-paternal-line

      That’s why I suspect I’m both a lot more Irish than the Ancestry test can show me. My dad’s grandfather was an Irish immigrant. But it’s OK. The thing I was looking for when I took this was Switzerland. I got a couple of sweet surprises, though. Cousin’s kids contacting me for more information. That’s why I have continued uploading photos when I find them and answering all the emails when they come. That’s a benefit of this I never thought of when I spit into the beaker.

      • Well, that’s a fascinating link. I want to trace the line back through my mother and her mother’s lineage. That’s a tough one, just going by names. The distant relatives I’ve found are most often linked to my father’s side. I was hoping for what you got – the connection and sweet surprises. It may still happen, who knows? But it’s been a while.

Comments are closed.